Om Biome: Using microorganisms to treat chronic inflammation
Using microorganisms to treat chronic inflammation
As the prevalence of diseases caused by chronic inflammation grows, a California company is developing innovative solutions to foster healing
Periodontal disease is an extremely prevalent ailment, affecting nearly 50% of all Americans and 70% of those over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
This inflammatory condition often leads to tooth loss and has been shown to have a relationship with other maladies that are the result of chronic inflammation, including cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
A Los Angeles-based startup, called OM Biome, is developing botanical products to help curb chronic inflammation that is implicated in periodontal disease, oral and colorectal ulcers, and other conditions. The product uses organisms known as microalgae to modulate the immune system and boost the body’s ability to heal itself.
A Healthier Biome
Julia V. Perederiy, Ph.D., is founder and chief executive officer of OM Biome. She describes her company’s approach as a modern take on an old practice. “Microalgae have been used by humans for thousands of years and are one of the earliest life forms on the planet,” she said. “For ancient cultures, these were superfoods. Today, the UN uses microalgae to combat malnutrition, while NASA uses them as a source of food for astronauts in space. Elite athletes and nutritionists recommend microalgae for peak performance and nutrient sufficiency.”
Microalgae are single-celled organisms found in the ocean, fresh water and in soil. These small but mighty critters perform photosynthesis and are responsible for producing much of Earth’s oxygen. Because microalgae are living creatures, they interact with and regulate communities of other microorganisms they encounter. They also contain high levels of protein, iron and many other essential vitamins and nutrients.
OM Biome’s botanicals are designed to boost the body’s ability to heal by “nurturing the niche microenvironment” — a repeating U-shaped structure responsible for regeneration of mucous membranes along the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth.
Key elements of the niche microenvironment are the immune system, resident stem cells and the surrounding microbial milieu. Disruptions in these elements can lead to chronic disease.
“The niche microenvironment is a dynamic system and that is what’s so beautiful about it,” Perederiy said. “We have the power to push our cells one way or the other,” towards health or disease. “Microalgae can provide the tools to boost the body’s innate power to heal.”
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Julia V. Perederiy, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO
We have found a nature-endorsed way to rebuild a thriving oral ecosystem that heals quickly and is naturally resistant to pathogens.
Julia V. Perederiy, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO
According to the company, early adopters of OM Biome’s Microalgae Complete Oral Care Powder reported a reduction in gum inflammation within two days and a reduction of gum bleeding within two weeks of consistent use. Users who continued to use the microalgae oral care regimen for longer than six months reported shallower periodontal pockets.
“We have found a nature-endorsed way to rebuild a thriving oral ecosystem that heals quickly and is naturally resistant to pathogens,” Perederiy said. “By using microalgae to provide the proper nutrients, we can curb inflammation, accelerate recovery from oral injury, and encourage good bacteria to outcompete the bad.”
OM Biome’s Microalgae Complete Oral Care Powder is available for sale on the company’s website. They plan to roll out several more personal care products soon, including formulations for colorectal discomfort and skin. Likewise, OM Biome is exploring therapeutic applications of its microalgae platform via its laboratory research program at BiolabsLA at the Lundquist Institute.
The company has been supported by Larta Institute’s Heal.LA program, through which Perederiy worked with an advisor to develop the market positioning strategy around the company’s oral health product. Heal.LA is focused on piloting and commercializing solutions to improve the health and wellness of underserved communities in Los Angeles, providing access to better care for all, and scaling these innovations to communities beyond LA.
Understanding the Connections
Perederiy has a doctorate in neuroscience and takes a systems-level approach to regenerative biology. She was drawn to medical foods and nutraceuticals to “find common biological mechanisms of conditions traditionally evaluated separately in the Western medical system.”
She notes, however, that there has been a productive shift in research in recent years, as there have been more studies showing relationships between the wide range of diseases, chronic inflammation and dysregulation of the microbiome.
“People are widening their scope and we’re finally looking at things together as opposed to separately,” she said. “Your body can heal itself, so let’s help it do that.”